Gov. Bev Perdue tonight received a federal disaster declaration from President Obama for eight more counties affected by Saturday’s tornadoes and severe storms. Damage assessments have been updated for Craven, Currituck, Greene, Hertford, Hoke, Pitt, Robeson and Sampson counties.
The federal declaration makes available low-interest loans or grants to storm victims to help them repair their homes and businesses. Counties previously designated are Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Wake and Wilson. Residents and business owners in the declared counties can apply for low-interest federal loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration in the following amounts:
Homeowners – up to $240,000 to repair or replace their homes and some personal belongings
Renters – up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings
Business Owners – up to $2 million for business property losses
Any who don’t qualify for loans may be eligible for an individual assistance grant from FEMA to help repair and replace personal property. Other relief programs include crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster, income tax assistance for filing casualty losses and legal advice. Citizens should contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov.
Local governments who were affected by the storms will also receive federal financial help. Eighteen counties can now expect federal funds to cover 75 percent of the cost to remove debris, provide emergency protective measures and repair infrastructure. State funds are expected to cover the remaining cost.
The Governor is still awaiting word on the state’s request for an agricultural disaster declaration from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. However, farmers who endured damage can immediately apply to two state programs at their county Farm Service offices – the conservation program, which can help farmers with debris removal so they can start planting again, and the livestock program, which will help farmers recoup losses such as livestock and poultry.
Disaster Recovery Centers opened today in the Colerain Community Building for Bertie County residents and at the Cumberland County Department of Social Services building in Fayetteville. Both centers will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily until further notice to help provide one-on-one assistance with the recovery process. Disaster recovery centers for other counties are expected to open in the coming days.